Celebrating your dog's birthday is a fun way to spend fun time together, and create great memories! There's also lots of different ways to celebrate!
Places to go
At Starbucks you can get one of their famous pupuchinos! It's not an official drink but you can order a cup with whipped cream in it for a delicious treat for your pups birthday!
2. Your local dog supply store to pick out a treat!
Not only will you be able to show off your pup on their birthday to strangers, you can have you dog pick out a treat for themselves!
If you and your pup are feeling adventurous check out a short local hike and let them run through the trees!
4. Restaurant with a Dog Friendly Patio
Find a local restaurant that has an outdoor space and treat your dog! You can even order them something off the menu if they've been extra good.
5. Local Dog Daycare
Let your pup celebrate with their friends at your local dog daycare. If you ask, the staff may even sing them a song and get birthday photos!
Choosing a doggy daycare and boarding facility can be a harder prospect than it first seems. Your dog is part of your family, and leaving them behind at a place you’re not totally comfortable with is not an option. So let’s say that you have a few places in mind, you’ve looked at their reviews, called and spoken to staff. Your next step should be to visit the facility for a tour to personally see where your dog is staying.
Some places have only a few set hours in the day when you can come for a tour, other facilities require a reservation for a tour (Wag Atlanta offers tours anytime between 8a until 6pm, no reservation needed). You’ll want to call ahead or check online each facilities process for getting a tour.
What questions should you ask while taking the tour?
You should ask questions that get you familiar with how the facility functions, what it’s schedule for the dogs is etc. You want to make sure that its schedule is a good fit for your dogs schedule (if they close at 7p, and don’t open until 7a and don’t have overnight staff, you will want to make sure that your dog is okay holding their bladder for 12 hours). Wag Atlanta is open 24/7 and take dogs out for potty breaks late at night for those who are on that kind fo schedule, or that have trouble holding their bladder (puppies, old timers, etc.)
You should ask what cleaners they use, how often they clean their play yards, and any other questions you can think of on how they run their facility. You’re also seeing how knowledgable the staff is.
How many ways and how often are you able to contact them? Are they open 24/7 where someone will answer the phone no matter the time so you can check on your pup? If they are not 24/7 be prepared to make sure you know their hours of operation so you can call when they’re open. How active are they at answering emails, or on facebook? (A good way to test this is to send them an email/facebook message a few days before the tour with a few simple questions and see how quickly they get back to you).
Things to Look for
How much of the facility do they show you? Some facilities are not set up to show tours of the whole facility, but you should be able to see a good portion of the place. If you’re show the lobby and a set up “example” lodging, that mean’s you have not seen exactly where your dog is staying and can’t be 100% sure the place is right for them. Wag Atlanta offers full facility tours so you can see exactly where your dog will be staying.
How clean the place is when you come will tell you many things about it. For facilities with tour hours or scheduled tours, you would expect the facility to be pretty clean, they knew you were coming after all. There should always be allowance given to any facility, as dogs can make huge messes without warning, and no one can be blamed for that. Facilities that offer unscheduled tours will likely be a little messier, as they are functioning non stop, with no break in the action for the dogs. Most likely things will not be totally clean, or smelling good all the time, but it shouldn’t be a pig stye. You want you dog to be clean while you’re away.
Do they dogs look active and happy throughout the facility? Are the staff staying busy or do they look idle? A pile of laundry doesn’t mean they are slow to do laundry, it could easily mean they go through a lot keeping the facility clean.
Dogs boarding get used to the staff that care for them, and can tell when a stranger is present. Expect a lot of them to bark at the excitement of seeing someone different, just like they would at home.
There are many ways to make sure that you’re making the right choice in a boarding and daycare facility for your dog. Do your due diligence and homework, take tours and ask questions. Your dog is worth it!
A Few Ways to Socialize your Puppy
Getting a new puppy is an exciting and wonderful event! Whether it's one you fell in love with from the shelter, or a specific breed you know and adore, getting a new puppy is always fun! Along with the usual obedience and house training lessons, you have surely read or been told about the importance of socializing your puppy. Dog trainer Ian Dunbar wrote in his excellent book Before You Get Your Puppy:
Socializing early sets your dog up for long term success. A dog that is friendly around other dogs and people (especially strangers) is a dog that is easy to own and live with, and makes for a relationship with more love.
So you have the goal of how many people and dogs you want to meet by a certain age, so how can you meet this goal?
1. Visit your pups future daycare
2. Visit Stores
If your puppy hasn't received all of their puppy shots, there is a risk of certain diseases, parvo virus being the number one concern. If you're carrying your puppy the risk of catching parvo is greatly reduced, since it spreads the easiest through an infected dogs urine and feces. So if you're worried about the risk, carrying your pup is a great way to keep them safe!
There are lots of stores that allow dogs. The two that are the best are Lowes and Home Depot (always call specific locations ahead of time to confirm they allow dogs).
Home Depot and Lowe's are great places for socialization for several reasons. Firstly, lots of people! There are plenty of people there that will love to meet your puppy, and give it great positive interactions.
Secondly, many of the patrons are contractors and construction workers who will have beards or wear hats. These are things that seem insignificant, but when it comes to puppys it's a big deal! Being exposed to these things young is extremely important to a dogs future confidence.
Lastly, there is a large variety of sounds and sights and smells. From the garden section, to lumber, to tools, your puppy can hear saws, drills, concrete being moved around etc. Hearing these things now is a huge boost in the socialization game for your puppy.
With so many different types of collars out there for your pooch, you may begin to wonder “What’s the difference?” Each type or style of collar has a unique purpose. The ultimate goal of any type of collar is to get your dog to walk on a leash without pulling you. How do you choose the right collar for you and your dog?
Dangers in the Dog Park
We really love the idea of dogs heading to the park with their parents to meet new friends and playing outside, while sporting big goofy grins. Spending time with your pup, socializing, and exercising! What could go wrong? Well, too much, and quickly.
We have heard endless horror stories from our guests and our vets of dogs being attacked and seriously injured, killed, or at a minimum truly traumatized. There are too many irresponsible people that unleash their dogs, without knowing (or caring) what they may do to another dog. In most of these cases, we hear that there is no parent to be found or they grab their dog and run after an attack.
Another concern is that proof of vaccinations is not required or checked at dog parks. The assumption people may have, if a parent cares about their dog enough to take them to the park, then certainly they take them to the vet. Most parents do take their dogs to the vet frequently, but there are a lot that do not. Many diseases and illnesses can be transferred from pup to pup through direct contact or through contaminated water. When your dog drinks from the same water bowl or fountain as other dogs, they are being directly exposed to anything they might be carrying, yikes!
It can be hard having the right mix of fun and safety when caring for your dog, and it’s up to each parent to determine what is the right mix for their particular pup.
So, what should you do? Ideally, AVOID the dog park altogether. If you do go, take some precautions:
• Watch the dogs playing for a while, before adding your pup to the mix.
• Have your dog greet other dogs, while on their leash.
• Only have your dog play with dogs that are the same size.
• Small dogs are at the highest risk of injury or death. Only go to parks that have a small dog area for your little baby.
• You can also bring your dog’s own water bowl to decrease the risk of illness.
• Don’t bring more than 1 dog to the dog park unless you have someone with you to watch the other dog. It is too hard for one person to control/monitor 1 dog off leash, much less 2.
Make sure YOU are a responsible dog park parent:
• Keep up with their vaccinations. Some vaccinations, such as bordetella/kennel cough may need to be renewed every 6 months. Add an alert to your phone, and keep a copy on your phone.
• Socialize your dog. Taking your pup to a doggy day care for a controlled playtime is a really great idea. At Wag Atlanta, the Wag Pack plays for hours throughout the day, giving your pup great exposure to appropriate dog behavior.
• Training is always a good idea. Being able to have your dog return to you when you call them and to sit patiently is SO important.
• Puppies can really aggravate other dogs. They are at an increased risk of injury with other dogs getting tired of the toddler nipping at them and they may snap. Keep your pup with same aged dogs. Again, a doggy day care is the best option.
• Don’t let your large dog play with small dogs. You may have the friendliest dog there is, but their excitement and a case of the zoomies can do real accidental damage to those tiny bodies.
• Just because your small dog likes to play with big dogs, does not mean those big dogs will want to play with your small dog. We see people, alllllllllllll the time, let their tiny dogs into the park with the big dogs and just say "oh they love BIG dogs!"
• Many dogs can be protective of you. They may become aggressive when another dog approaches you. This is one reason you really want to keep them on leash to introduce them to others.
• Do not bring your intact/non-neutered male or your intact/non-spayed female who is in heat to the dog park.
Another option, arrange play groups with neighbors and friends. This can grow really fast for a large pool of pups! This is much safer and can be a lot of fun! This gives you control of the dogs your pup will be playing with and can lead to some true bonded besties. You will love seeing their face light up when they see all their friends are there.
Socialization is really important for a well behaved, healthy, happy dog. Our day care hours are from 6 am to 10 pm. Let your baby come play with us!
Pumpkin Puree to Save the Day!
As autumn rolls around every year, we start to notice an abundance of one particular vegetable: pumpkins! While we as pet owners may enjoy pumpkin pie or pumpkin spiced coffees, but did you ever consider your pup might enjoy this super squash as much as you do?
Pumpkin puree can be a beneficial treat for your dog or cat. It is loaded with fiber that aids your pet’s digestion. Pumpkin puree will absorb excess water and can be an effective treatment for diarrhea. The high fiber content is also helpful in keeping your pet regular and treating constipation. In cats, pumpkin puree can assist in moving fur balls through their digestive tract (and into the litterbox!) rather than being hacked up onto your carpet.
Along with treating various tummy troubles, pumpkin is also packed with vitamins! Vitamin A in pumpkins will help promote healthy vision. It has plenty of vitamin C for immune health. Dogs who have joint problems will also benefit from the boost in vitamin C, as their bodies consume more vitamin C than they are capable of producing. To keep your baby looking shiny and beautiful, pumpkins are also a great source of Zinc.
If your fur baby is a little too chunky, pumpkin puree can be the key to weight loss. Due to its high fiber content, pumpkin puree can help your pet feel fuller, while actually consuming less calories! Combined with exercise and appropriate feeding amounts, pumpkin puree can help you reach your goal for your pet’s weight.
Pumpkin puree is an affordable and easily accessible supplement to your cat or dog’s food. Be sure that when you are shopping for your pumpkin puree, you buy the plain can of puree. Pre-spiced, sweetened, or “Ready for Pie” purees are meant for human consumption only. Consult your veterinarian to find out how much pumpkin is right for your pet, as serving sizes will vary depending on the size of your baby, and your goals.
Overall, pumpkin puree can be a very helpful tool. Whether you are looking to settle an upset tummy, pack some vitamins into your baby’s diet, help them lose weight, or just offer them a special treat, pumpkin can be an advantageous part of your pantry!
Nail health is often overlooked. Keeping up with your pup’s nail length can prevent pain and potential paw and joint issues and keep you from getting scratched.
Nails should never touch the floor. The clicking on your floors is a sure sign that your dog’s nails need attention.
Nails that touch the floor are putting pressure back into your dog’s nail bed and paw. This is painful! Eventually it will affect the way your dog walks and hurt their joints.
Long nails can fracture or split on abrasive surfaces such as concrete. Neglected nails are also more likely to split or become snagged on carpet and may need treatment. Long nails can injure your dog’s playmates, because dogs use their paws and mouth when they tussle and play. Regular nail trim can avoid all these risks!
As the nails grow, so do their “quicks”. The quick is the pink part of the nail containing the nerves and blood. If nails are allowed to grow without trimming, it takes much longer to take them back down to the correct length. Since the quick is much longer, you can only take small amounts at a time. It is important to maintain nails to prevent this.
The best way to trim your dog’s nails is with a grinding tool or dremel. A grinding tool allows a much closer trim with the ability to trim above, below, and all around the quick. The quick will recede when the nail has been trimmed closely. This allows you to go even shorter the next time!
Let us treat your dog to a pedicure! Our trained staff will use a dremel tool for the closest trim!
The most important thing you can bring for your dog’s stay is their food. A change in your dog’s diet can upset your pup and cause tummy troubles. We want your baby to be comfortable and as stress free as possible, so bringing the same food they get at home is really important.
To make sure we are giving your baby exactly what they need and they have plenty of food for their stay, we do REQUIRE that their food is brought portioned out into their individual meals. Please, make sure to clearly label them if they are not all the same. We should have one bag/container for each meal they will get while with us.
We can accommodate your feeding needs!
Because we are not watching your pup the entire time they are eating, for your pup’s safety we cannot give your dog:
If you know that your dog is super high energy and participates in group play, you may want to add a little extra to each portion. They are outside running and playing for hours and will be burning more energy than they do at home.
All uneaten food that is offered to your dog will be disposed. To keep our facility as clean as possible and to offer your dog only fresh clean food, we cannot collect uneaten food and offer it again later. If your pup usually goes on a hunger strike when boarding, you may want to lessen the amount you pack per meal. You may consider including some wet food, a food additive or other savory topper to entice them to eat.
Make sure your feeding instructions are correct on your dog’s profile! You can log in and view or edit this as needed. Leave us any special instructions here as well.
Zip baggies work great to portion dry food. Small plastic containers are great for meal toppers, and we are happy to return them to you!
Thank you for helping us make sure your pup has a great stay at Wag!
Officials have warned about a recent increase in cases of the highly contagious H3N2 Canine Influenza in Georgia. This flu is highly contagious and can be spread with coughing, barking, and transferred by infected objects. Vaccination is recommendation is for all dogs that are frequently around other dogs, dog parks, boarding, grooming, etc. It is also recommended for older and immunosuppressed dogs.
Wag Atlanta is taking steps to further protect your babies. Because 20% of dogs with the flu will show no symptoms, we can not just rely on visually examining our four legged guests at check in. We strongly urge you to have your dog vaccinated with the H3N2 vaccination immediately and beginning on January 1, 2018:
ALL DOGS ENTERING WAG ATLANTA MUST BE VACCINATED FOR CANINE INFLUENZA H3N2.
Though we have not seen any cases here at Wag Atlanta, we want to keep your pets as safe as possible. We realize it is an inconvenience and expense and we know you have a choice about where you take your pet play and stay. We appreciate all our pet parents who know our priority is your pet's health and happiness.
For your convenience, we are offering the Canine Flu bivalent vaccine at Wag Atlanta, better protecting your dog from both the H3N2 and H3N8 Canine Flu. This vaccine requires two doses 2-4 weeks apart. Your dog would not be considered vaccinated until the 2nd vaccine. Annual revaccination requires just one dose.
Hopefully you never have to administer first aid for your dog, but if you do, you want to make sure that you have a complete kit.
Top things to include:
1. Clean cloth's for applying pressure to any injuries.
2. A copy of your pets medical and vaccination records. In case of having to run to an emergency vet, having this papers close at hand will help the vet know if your pup has any allergies, and what vaccinations they have.
3. Digital Thermometer for testing their temperature. Remember that dogs temperatures are taken rectally not orally. When cleaning it never run it under water, as this can ruin it.
4. Gauze for bandaging wounds. Remember not to remove old layers. Always stack! New gauze goes on top of old gauze, or else you'll remove the scab that was being formed.
5. Adhesive tape for securing the gauze.
6. Liquid benedryl. Sometimes benerdyl can mean the difference between your dog being able to breath, or not. With this make sure to also pack needless syringes to administer.
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